Deal would turn Butler Twp. school site into 74 homes, small commercial area

Horizon Line Development has deal with Vandalia-Butler school district for Murlin Heights property

BUTLER TWP. — The site that formerly housed the Murlin Heights Elementary School may soon see new development.

The Vandalia-Butler School District has entered into a purchase agreement with Horizon Line Development for the 15-acre lot located at North Dixie Drive and Sudachi Drive, north of Dayton Memorial Park and the Miller Lane commercial area in Butler Twp.

According to the agreement, Horizon Line has until March 30 to complete necessary due diligence steps, which may include surveying, testing, and evaluation of the property.

The sale, at closing, would result in a minimum one-time payment to the district of $800,000 for up to 10 buildable acres, with a potential for the sale of additional acreage at $60,000 per acre.

Application documents submitted to the township show Horizon Line’s plan to rezone the vacant lot to allow for the development of both commercial and residential properties.

The preliminary plan includes 1.3 acres of commercial property along the frontage on North Dixie Drive and 13.6 acres for the development of two-family and three-family residential units, for a total of 74 units, documents state.

In a letter to the township, the developer said the commercial portion of the development would likely house a boutique coffee shop and other retail establishments. The plans also include an option for a drive-thru service.

A zoning commission hearing is set for Tuesday, March 21, at 6:30 p.m., during which residents can share feedback.

According to school district officials, the sale of the property aims to achieve three goals: to bring value to and enhance the quality of life in the community; to add value to the surrounding residential properties; and to generate as much profit as possible for the district.

“The sale of the Murlin property has been a strategic goal of the Vandalia-Butler Board of Education for nearly 10 years,” said Superintendent Rob O’Leary. “The district continues to work cooperatively with township officials and residents near the property to ensure all goals are met.”

Murlin Heights Elementary School closed its doors at the end of the 2012-2013 school year as part of a cost reduction plan by the district. The building sat vacant for five years before being demolished in 2018. The school board in 2020 determined it no longer needed the property and approved a plan to sell the land.

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